By Marina Hernandez
Photo by Monique Kuhlman
So Cal’s punk rock scene can be traced back to the late 1970s with bands like Black Flag and Germs hitting local stages. Since then, it has endured through truly grassroots energy and persistence. Sometimes, it’s the passionate individuals working behind the scenes that push these bands from garages to club stages. Meet Paul Gonzalez, Long Beach’s modern musician, curator, and humble hustler keeping the local punk scene alive and thriving.
“FOR ME, MUSIC IS LIFE”
At his core, Paul is a musician, “For me, music is life.” Paul has performed and fronted many garage bands in the past, The Red Onions, Death Hymn #9, White Murder, just to name a few. “He’s the craziest frontman I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing in a band with,” says his Assquatch bandmate Nick Aguilar.
His influence in the punk community runs deep. Local musician Colin P of Terminal A confirms, “Seeing his early work definitely inspired me when I was younger.” By the same token, Paul has been so completely embraced by the local punk community that the group, The Boogie Mamas, wrote and performed a song, “Beach Ball Paul,” in his honor at 4th St Vine (now Vine) on his birthday.
CURATOR OF THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE
Paul Gonzalez is also a passionate curator of the local music scene and creates spaces where bands and fans can come together to connect and celebrate punk music’s unique tenor. In a music scene that is founded on anti-mainstream sentiments and fueled by a DIY ethos, Paul has found a way to work behind the scenes to bring order to the chaos.
Paul helps book bands at local venues like Vine, Alex’s Bar and Prospector (RIP). “Paul booked Slaughterhouse’s very first show in 2017, at 4th St Vine in Long Beach. We weren’t sure if we were ready or not, but thought it’d be a good opportunity and had a great time,” says Taylor and Eddie of Slaughterhouse.
He helps promote shows within the community and, with his DJ experience, often helps set up equipment and check sound quality. According to longtime friend and former roommate, Jonelle Holden, Paul has also invited touring bands to stay at their apartment while in town. “He’s been on tour, so he gets it,” says Jonelle.
SUPPORTING THE MUSIC COMMUNITY
Being a musician himself, Paul understands how challenging it can be to book gigs, get noticed and attract fans. Perhaps that’s what drives him to selflessly support other musicians. On his own time, and without taking a dollar, Paul has devoted his energy to the punk scene and its community.
“Paul has spent his life, selflessly supporting the local music scene. He has booked hundreds of shows around the LA area in the past twenty years. Touring bands consistently reach out to him when they’re coming to town and he helps curate line-ups with local bands that will help draw people to the shows. I’ve never known him to ask for anything from anyone for the booking work that he does,” says Jim Ritson, local business owner and long-time friend to Paul.
Paul Gonzalez is a true gem in our community and has contributed to its eclectic reputation especially amongst musicians and fans. Simply stated by friend Jonelle Holden, “The music community wouldn’t be the same without him.”